Are you afraid of speaking in public? The fear of failure can increase the worry factor and make you feel anxious. Good public speaking skills are critical to your success in life and business because somehow you’ll always have to share your ideas and values to others. Even people with great interpersonal skills may have a hard time speaking in public. Here are a few tips to overcome your fear and become a better speaker:
Figure Out What Scares You
First of all, determine what exactly makes you feel anxious. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you don’t perform well? Find ways to cope with or address these fears. Let’s say you’re afraid that everyone will be judging you. Most of the audience will be probably thinking about what they have to do later that day. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be brilliant to succeed. Your audience doesn’t expect perfection.
Memorize the first three or four sentences from your speech. This will help you get started. Think about your audience and structure your talk accordingly. Determine their knowledge level as well as how much they know about the topic. Tell a story that they will remember. Don’t just present facts and numbers. Researchers have found that people remember very few of the information speakers convey. You should only focus on two or three key points.
Practice your speech from beginning to end in front of a mirror or facing a wall. Ask a friend to give you feedback. Record yourself in order to identify any flaws in your speech. Delivering your speech at least five times in various scenarios will reduce your anxiety and make you more relaxed. When you are prepared, you have the confidence that nothing will go wrong with your speech.
Envision Your Success
Instead of thinking about your speech as an accident waiting to happen, imagine it as the biggest success of your life. Picture your audience smiling and thanking you for your time. Visualize the whole scenario. Your attitude and personality will be remembered more than your speech.
Take the Plunge
The only way to overcome your fear of public speaking is to face it. The longer you wait to deliver your speech, the more intense your fear will become. Think less and engage more. If you practice your talk and arrive prepared, there’s nothing to worry about.
Image credit: Ambro